Engagement Tools for Natural Flood Management

Type: Apps & Tools

CaBA Partnerships and partner organisations are developing and using a range of exciting, interactive models to engage communities and help them explore how natural flood management works.

Many of these models were brought together in a workshop at the Rivers Trust conference and you can see a short video with them in action below:

sandbox - natural flood management tool

Augmented Reality Sandbox

The Augmented Reality Sandbox is a visualisation tool that shows how topography affects water moving through a catchment. By shaping real sand, people create their own catchments which are then ‘augmented’ in real time by a projector which shows a coloured elevation map and contour lines.

People can then ‘make it rain’ and watch how the virtual water flows through the catchment in real time, exploring how changes in land use affect flooding.

JBA Trust and The Rivers Trust are exploring how the AR Sandbox can be used to show natural flood management concepts, including the impact of woodland, storage ponds, and river restoration. See the sandbox in action below.

Find out more


Marble Run: River

Marble Run: River is a beautiful, yet playful piece of kinetic art with sweeping lines that mirrors river processes linked to natural river flood management. It meanders, disrupts and ‘slows the flow’ of marbles as they journey downstream. Very loosely based on the River Eden system, the idea is to roll a marble and watch its journey from source to sea as it winds its way through natural river features found in the upper, middle and lower courses of a river. These include: flood plains, rough sections of rivers, leaky dams, and meanders. Note the changes in speed of the water as a result of these features and what happens when too much water reaches narrow channels!

Find out more


EM River Simulator

The EM River Simulator is an interactive stream table that is great for demonstrating and explaining fluvial geomorphological processes such as erosion, deposition and sediment transport. You can use the model to demonstrate the impact of a variety of channel management activities such as channel straightening, river restoration, woody debris, hard bank engineering vs soft engineering, dredging, weirs and culverts on river processes, sediment dynamics and flood risk.

This engaging and interactive tool is well received by the public and people love having a go at managing their own river channel. Water is pumped from a reservoir container and released at the upstream end of the river channel and you can vary the flow rate to simulate a flood. The plastic media then mimics the behaviour of river gravels in response to changes in flow and management activities.

You can watch a short video of the model demonstrating how, in simple terms, natural flood management could change the flow of sediment in a river below.

The Little River Research and Design website also has a number of good resources in the link below.

Find out more


Tweed Forum Catchment Model

Tweed Forum Catchment Model recreates two river catchments in miniature – one catchment featuring various natural flood management (NFM) measures and another reflecting a more typical modern rural landscape.  “Rain” is introduced into the catchment via a number of nozzles and the resulting flow of water through the river channel and across the wider landscape can be easily seen. More importantly, the volume of water being “retained” by the two catchments can be measured, showing very clearly that the catchment with various NFM measures retains far more water than its counterpart. You can watch a short video about the model below.

Find out more


The SuDS House

The SuDS House, developed by Trent Rivers Trust, is an interactive model which compares a house with conventional drainage to a house with sustainable drainage features. The model demonstrates how sustainable drainage systems can help to reduce rapid runoff in urban environments.

You can watch a short video of the model in action below.

Find out more


River and catchment-based NFM features

Infographic: SEPA Natural Flood Management Handbook

Open document


Infographic: Working with natural processes

Open document


Resource: Countryside Stewardship - How can it help reduce flooding?

Open document


Fact Sheet: Channel Management Aide Memoire For channel management in a catchment context

Open document

These pages are supported by the Flood Resilient Areas by multi-layEr Safety (FRAMES) project under the Interreg North Sea Region VB programme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund. For more information please visit http://northsearegion.eu/frames/ 

This page is supported by the Flood Resilient Areas by multi-layEr Safety (FRAMES) project under the Interreg North Sea Region VB programme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund. For more information please visit http://northsearegion.eu/frames/

Translate »